Statement Of James L. Martin, President, 60 Plus Association On ABC’s Special “Bitter Medicine”

I was appalled at the program on the pharmaceutical industry entitled ‘Bitter Medicine’ by Peter Jennings. Had it been factually correct, it would have been entitled ‘Better Medicine instead of ‘Bitter Medicine.’ Instead, Mr. Jennings presented a biased presentation that was inaccurate and dishonest. As the head of a national senior citizens organization of half a million members, seniors should be enraged at this presentation of an important health care issue.

Without the brand names, and yes, therefore more costly due to the enormous costs associated with development….as much as $800 million for one drug…there would be fewer cures for major diseases we seniors face.

I reach for my anxiety and high blood pressure medicines when I see and hear distortions such as those of Peter Jennings.

The generic industry is thriving, thanks to the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984. Generics have gone from 15% to 50%. But if the Peter Jennings,’ the generic industry, and sadly, the AARP, had their way, we seniors will suffer in the long run.

Why? Because this imposition of price controls lights in the pharmaceutical laboratories will start going out all over America Investors will not be willing to put up the billions of dollars that lead to new discoveries for seniors.

Mr. Jennings’s agenda appears too obvious: government controlled medicine is the next step. However, he distorts the record of the pharmaceutical industry and the great advances we have made in health care to make a case for government-controlled medicine.

This type of program gives encouragement to reckless pieces of legislation such as measures to reimport prescription drugs from Canada as a so-called cost savings to seniors. The real result is to risk the health and safety of our American people especially our senior citizens. We have one of the best health care systems in the world with a pharmaceutical industry that has saved and is saving thousands of lives while enhancing the quality of lives for seniors.

If Mr. Jennings believes Canada or some other country has a better health care system, he should move back there. In the meantime, he should not be using the media to distort the American health care system so that it would open the door for a government controlled health care system. Such a system would diminish the advances we have made in health care and stop our progress in making lives better for our senior citizens.

In conclusion, Mr. Jennings’ misrepresentations should be labeled ‘harmful to your health.’

And no, the pharmaceutical industry did not pay me to put out this statement.

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